We have teamed up with Ebookers to share their new travel tool, Take Over Your Layover. It allows users to customize their London layover, from exploring Central London to finding the best shopping and dining options within the airport based on who you’re traveling with and what mood you’re in.
Now that we are no longer residents of London, our visits revolve around all the food we want to eat and restaurants we want to check-out. In particular, we always make it a priority to go to the wonderful food markets that are scattered about London. With limited time and so many great vendors, markets provide the best opportunity for proper grazing.
Our perfect layover is all about the food, and lots of it.
Our Perfect Layover
With limited time and stomach space, we would go directly to Borough Market. Located along the south side of the River Thames, it is the oldest and largest market in London. Our favorite time to visit is during lunch hours Thursday-Saturday, when the is in full swing. It is a true London institution.
There are a variety of transport options from Heathrow, but while a car service or taxi would be the most direct, it is the costliest option (minimum of £50 each way) and the drive could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on traffic.
Instead, the easiest way to get to Borough Market is to hop on the Tube (Picadilly Line) from Heathrow. Once in Central London, transfer from the Piccadilly Line to the Jubilee Line at Green Park, taking it four more stops to London Bridge. It takes about an hour and costs roughly £3 each way.
Exiting London Bridge station, you are right across the street from the entrance to Borough Market, with plenty of signs helping you find the way.
What to Eat
There are literally dozens upon dozens of food options around the market. There are full service restaurants, and plenty of food stalls selling everything from the British classics like pork pies and Scotch eggs, to a bevy of international dishes like Indian curries and Ethiopian stews. From us, you’ll get two votes for snacking your way around the market. It’s our favorite thing to do.
Here are our picks in Borough Market
These purveyors of flavorful vegetarian Indian food dish out samosas, bhajis, and a variety of veggie dishes. The best bet is to go for their vegetarian thali (£6.50), a mixture of basmati rice, yogurt, and tamarind sauce with a featured dish of the day. The curried cauliflower is our favorite.
Simply put, here you’ll find the greatest grilled cheese sandwich (or cheese toastie as the Brits’ say) on the planet. The mixture of Montgomery Cheddar and super gooey Ogleshield makes for an ideal cheese blend, sandwiched on local sourdough from Bermondsey, all for £6. Kappacasein also offers racellete, with half-wheels of Ogleshield positioned under gas heaters, creating bubbly, melty cheese that is poured over steamed potatoes with gherkins. Sounds amazing, but it is more show than taste. Take a photo of the racelette, order the cheese toastie. You’re welcome.
While the Brindisa restaurant, located on the corner of the market, is an excellent choice for a drink and some tapas, their retail store is worth a look, as it is stocked with the highest quality Spanish ingredients, like whole legs of Iberico ham. Even better, they maintain a sandwich stall just outside the retail shop, selling a legendary chorizo roll (about £5) which is worth the hype. A grilled chorizo sausage, on a roll, with arugula and piquillo peppers. Simple and delicious.
Horn OK Please
Strange name, fabulous food. The best dish is the moong dal dosa (£5), an Indian street food that is similar to a crepe, but made from rice and lentil flour (their entire menu is gluten-free). Horn OK Please wraps the dosa around masala potato, and serves it with a side of chutneys with chickpeas and pomegranate.
Borough Market is known for its many bakery options. While there are many excellent choices, Bread Ahead is the best of the best. The focaccia is to die for, but don’t overlook the doughnuts. At £2.50 each, and offered in flavors like salted honeycomb and creme caramel, these are a perfect way to end a day at the market.
A View and a Cocktail
Before going back to the airport, check out our pick for the best view of London. Directly above the London Bridge Tube Station is the Shard, the tallest building in London, it’s sharp lines visible from almost anywhere in the city.
The Shard has a public observation deck near the top, but those in the know head to the 33rd floor instead, home to Hutong, an upscale Chinese restaurant. For less than the cost of a ticket to the observation deck, you can enjoy a cocktail in the bar area of Hutong and get the same unobstructed view of many of the major sites in the city, like the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s a win-win.
Back to Heathrow
After sampling the variety of food at Borough Market and toasting London with cocktail at Hutong, it will probably be time to head back to the airport. Luckily, this itinerary departs from the same station, so travel back to Heathrow is easy.
The entrance to the London Bridge Tube Station is just around the corner from the entrance to the Shard’s lobby. So as you find a seat and make your way back to the airport, you can be satisfied in a layover well spent.
Want to see more options for layovers in London? Check out more at Take Over Your Layover by Ebookers. And if you don’t have time to hop on the Tube into London, but still want to sample the best food Heathrow has to offer, check out our pick for the best dining spot within the airport!